The Coalition Agreement between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives on Walsall Council was published on Monday (9th July) ahead of the “State of Walsall” debate at the Full Council meeting.
The main thrust of the agreement centres around the need to tackle the long standing inequalities highlighted in the report informing the debate, which exist across Walsall creating an east west divide which in its rawest terms sees those living in the leafier east having a life expectancy around 8 years greater than those living in the west.
This divide has been exacerbated by the financial mess the country is in following the “light touch” financial culture nurtured during the Blair and Brown Administrations over the past 13 years.
As Liberal Democrats we have long campaigned on the principle that no one should be a victim of their Post Code. Everyone, no matter where they were born, should have an equal start in life.
This agreement was our chance to put words into deeds and as a result Walsall’s new Lib Dem / Tory Administration will adopt, following next weeks Cabinet meeting, six objectives. These are:
- Give every child the best start in life
- Enable all children, young people and adults to maximise their capabilities and have control over their lives
- Create fair employment and good work for all
- Ensure a healthy standard of living
- Create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities
- Strengthen the role and impact of ill health provision
These changes can not take place without the active involvement of the people of Walsall. The coalition administration will work to empower local residents by strengthening the six Area Partnerships across the borough.
It is the intention of the coalition within its lifetime to pursue policies to push decision making away from the centre and out to the heart of local communities.
This process will begin with local people being more involved in the planning process where applications impact directly on them and their local area. This will be followed by devolving decisions on how budgets on the local environment and green spaces services are delivered in the local area.
Emphasis is being placed on growing, what today is known as the 3rd sector, better known as the voluntary sector. Area Partnerships are to be asked to prioritise support to community and voluntary groups, encouraging community enterprises to evolve to help enhance the delivery of services within the local community.
The Coalition Agreement has some specific things to say about the New Invention and Short Heath areas of Willenhall.
It is the coalition’s intention to establish a young peoples information centre, similar to that in Blakenall, at The Square, Lichfield Road, New Invention by 2013/14.
Improved access to Health Care provision is high on the agenda for Short Heath, where a feasibility study is to take place to free up land in Stroud Avenue as a potential site for a health centre.
A Park and Ride scheme is to be established at The Square, New Invention to encourage more use of public transport, whilst at the same time adding to the sustainability of this busy local district centre.
Money has been earmarked to help the Friends of Rough Wood, working closely with Walsall Council’s Countryside Service, to bring Rough Wood Country Park up to Green Flag status by 2014/15.
Allens Rough Residents Association will be supported through Walsall Housing Group and other agencies to transform the Clay Hill on Hilton Road into a recreation area they can be proud of.
High level intervention with the developers of the Stonepark and Trentpark developments in Short Heath is to be initiated in order to accelerate the resolution of the contaminated land issue.
In all there are 17 action points contained within the coalition agreement. We have a potential 2 year window of opportunity. We intend to make the most of it for all our sakes.